Generosity is one of the attributes that people like and it pleases Allaah.
Islam urges its followers to be generous and spend their money in the way of Allaah because this leads to fostering feelings of love and solidarity within the society and eliminating envy from people’s hearts. Thus, feelings such as cooperation, love, and forgiveness prevail among Muslims whether they are rich or poor. At the same time, the relations between Muslims are strengthened and they become just like one body or a well-structured building. Generosity is one of the Attributes of Allaah as His Bounties are infinite. Allaah’s unlimited favors are represented in creating us, giving us strength, life, and health, facilitated the earth for us to utilize so we can eat from its products, and He even made the entire universe subservient for us. Allaah did not differentiate between a believer and a disbeliever as far as His Bounties are concerned. Allaah’s generosity covers all of them. Allaah, Glorified be He, likes the generous people and dislikes those who are miserly. Allaah also blesses the money of the generous and increases His Bounties for them whether in this world or in the Hereafter. Allaah says (what means): “The likeness of those who spend their wealth in the Way of Allaah, is as the likeness of a grain (of corn); it grows seven ears, and each ear has a hundred grains. Allaah gives manifold increase to whom He pleases.And Allaah is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knower.” [Quran 2:261] The generosity of the Prophet, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam The Prophet, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam, was the most generous of all people. He never missed an opportunity to spend his money in the way of Allaah. Ibn `Abbaas,may Allaah be pleased with him, described him as follows: “Allaah`s Messenger, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam, was the most generous of people in charity, but he was generous to the utmost in the month of Ramadhaan.Jibreel (Gabriel) would meet him every year during the month of Ramadhaan until it ended, and Allaah’s Messenger, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam, would review the Quran with him; and when Jibreel met him, Allaah’s Messenger, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam, was more generous in giving charity than a blowing wind”. (Al-Bukhaari and Muslim) The generosity of the Prophet, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam, reached the extent that he never abstained from giving to someone who requested from him regardless of his financial condition. Only a Prophet Would Give Like This: The generosity of the Prophet, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam, was an example to be followed. His generosity won the hearts of people and made them wish to embrace Islam. There is a famous story that testifies to his generosity. The Prophet, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam, was walking with Safwaan Ibn Umayyah – who was still a polytheist – and the Muslims had tremendous spoils of war. Safwaan looked at a valley full of camels and sheep for a long time. When the Prophet, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam, saw him doing this, he said: “Do you like it, Abu Wahb?” Safwaan said: ‘Yes.’ The Prophet, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam, said: “All this is yours.” Safwaan, almost not believing what he heard, said: “Only a Prophet could ever give this. I testify that none is worthy of worship but Allaah and that Muhammad is His Slave and Messenger. This led him to embrace Islam. The Prophet, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam, did the same thing with a man who came to him asking for help. The man went back to his people saying: “My people, embrace Islam, for Muhammad gives so much charity as if he has no fear of poverty.” (Muslim) The generosity of the Companions The noble companions, may Allaah be pleased with them, used to spend their money in the way of Allaah, all according to his ability. Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq, may Allaah be pleased with him, spent all his money in the way of Allaah to defend Islam and free Muslim slaves. `Uthmaan Ibn `Affaan, may Allaah be pleased with him, prepared one third of the Muslim army in the Battle of Tabook even though the army amounted to thirty thousand soldiers. `Abdur-Rahmaan Ibn `Awf and `Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab, may Allaah be pleased with them, were also very generous just like many other companions. Poverty never prevented a companion from entertaining a guest. A person came to Allaah’s Messenger, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam, and said: “I am hard pressed by hunger.” He, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, sent (a message) to one of his wives to prepare food for him, but she replied: “By Him Who has sent you with the Truth, there is nothing with me (to serve him) but some water.” He, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, then sent the (same) message to another wife, and she gave the same reply, until all of them (his wives) gave the same reply: “By Him Who has sent you with the Truth, there is nothing with me but some water,” whereupon he, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “Allaah would show mercy to him who will entertain this guest tonight.” A person from the Ansaar stood up and said: “Messenger of Allaah, I (am ready to entertain).” He took him to his house and said to his wife: “Is there anything with you (to serve the guest)?” She said: “Nothing other than the food of our children.” He said: “Distract their attention with something, and when the guest enters, dim the light and give him the impression that we are eating.” So they sat down and the guest had his meal while the host and his wife spent the night hungry. When it was morning he went to Allaah’s Messenger, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam, who said: “Allaah was well-Pleased with what you both did for your guest this night.” And the following verse was revealed (which means): “And give them (emigrants) preference over themselves, even though they were in need of that.” [Quran 59:9] Models of Generosity Islam urges its followers to show all forms of generosity. It urges the Muslims to be generous with guests, neighbors, spouses, and relatives. Islam considers generosity with the guest an obligation on each Muslim, and proof of sincere faith and obedience to Allaah. The Prophet, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam, said: “He who believes in Allaah and the Last Day should show hospitality to his guest.” (Al-Bukhaari) Islam also emphasizes the rights of the neighbor and it teaches Muslims to take care of him and be kind. The Prophet, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam, said: “Jibreel (Gabriel) kept on commending the neighbor to me until I thought he would make him an heir.” (Al-Bukhaari and Muslim) of Ramadhaan. Islam also calls for caring for relatives, keeping good relations with them, being kind to them, and helping them. Allaah said (what means): “And give to the kindred his due and to the Miskin (poor) and to the wayfarer. But spend not wastefully (your wealth) in the manner of a spendthrift.)” [Quran 17:26] There are models of generosity through different channels other than money. A Muslim could be generous with his time when he spends it in things that make people happy and he could spend time to help others and fulfill their needs. A Muslim could also be generous with his knowledge by fighting illiteracy and ignorance and spreading awareness among people. Etiquette of Generosity Generosity has some etiquettes and moral boundaries that Islam fosters, so that it will not lose its significance and value. If generosity is accompanied by harming others, it is a useless value because it hurts the feelings of the needy. Allaah, Glorified be He, drew our attention to this in His saying (which means): “Kind words and forgiving of faults are better than Sadaqah (charity) followed by injury. And Allaah is Rich (Free of all wants) and He is Most-Forbearing.” [Quran 2:263]